For those of you who consider yourself true New Yorkers or travel to Manhattan every day for work, I think there is one thing you both can agree on – the city in the winter can be a cold, miserable place. After the holiday cheer wears off the city is left with the occasional blizzard and frigid, bone-chilling temperatures, which does not add to the city’s usual vivacious attitude. And as we’ve seen from across the river this winter, the city that never sleeps has turned into the city that never stops shoveling.
So in an attempt to energize the city streets, the Paul Kasmin Gallery of New York, the city’s Department of Parks and Recreation, and the Fund for Park Avenue Sculpture Committee decided that flowers would do the trick. As of Sunday, Park Avenue is in full bloom with Will Ryman’s 10-block installation of giant roses, some as tall as 25 feet. The “planting” of these roses began Friday night, and the installation will be on display until the end of May.
“The Roses” exhibit includes 38 rose blossoms and 20 individual petals, six of which double as lawn chairs. The display starts on 57th Street and ends on 67th Street. Each flower arrangement contains four to six roses, painted in pink and red shades and accompanied by brass insects; a bee sits atop the highest rose on 67th Street. Ladybugs, aphids, and beetles (not John, Paul, George, and Ringo) are among the other insects nestled in the beautiful blooms.
“With these roses, I wanted to do something that was larger than life and site-specific,” Ryman said. “In my work, I always try to combine fantasy with reality. In the case of “The Roses”, I tried to convey New York City’s larger-than-life qualities through scale, creating blossoms which are imposing, humorous, and hopefully beautiful.”
The roses are constructed from plaster, wire mesh, PVC tubes, stainless steel, fiberglass resin, automotive paint, and brass. Konstantin Bojanov, the owner of a fabrication company collaborating with Ryman, noted that the 1,000 to 2,500-pound flowers can withstand winds of up to 120 miles per hour, while the bases are engineered to withstand hurricanes.
Lastly, Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe noted that Park Avenue is known for its flower arrangements. In the warmer months, the median of Park Avenue is lush with flowers and greenery. Obviously, she is delighted that Park Avenue is once again in bloom by adding, “The Roses” will enliven the area throughout the winter, in anticipation of the arrival of tulips in the spring.”